The new ferritic heat-resistant steel composed of 9Cr-3W-3Co-Nd-B, registered as ASME Code Case 2839, has been developed for large diameter and heavy wall thickness pipes and forgings of fossil-fired power boilers. The steel, which contains 0.01 mass% boron, a small amount of neodymium, and optimized amounts of nitrogen, is characterized by the superior long-term creep strengths of both the base metal and welded joint. P92 had equiaxed subgrain structures changed from martensite lath structures and coarsened M23C6 type carbides after long-term creep. In contrast, the developed steel, SAVE12AD, maintained martensite lath structures with fine M23C6 along the boundaries even after the long-term creep stage. The addition of high amounts of boron suppressed the coarsening of M23C6 along the boundaries, thereby stabilizing the martensite lath structure in the base metal of the steel. Consequently, SAVE12AD had higher creep rupture strength than other high chromium ferritic steels.
To investigate the creep rupture strength of welded joints, two welded joints with Ni-based alloy and Grade 92 welding filler wires were prepared by automatic gas tungsten arc welding. The creep rupture strength of each welded joint showed small degradation compared with the base metal in the long-term creep stage over 10,000 hours. These were ruptured 1.5 mm away from the fusion line, which was the same area as Type IV cracking. Microstructural observations were carried out by electron back scatter diffraction analysis using simulated heat-affected zone samples at different peak temperatures from 750 °C to 1350 °C in order to clarify the microstructure in the heat-affected zone. No fine grain area was observed in the microstructure after the simulated heat-affected zone at 910 °C just above AC3 transformation temperature, although there were fine grains along prior austenite grain boundaries, which seemed to form with the diffusion transformation. The creep cracks seemed to have initiated from the fine grain structures, resulting in the rupture at the same area as Type IV cracking. However, the creep rupture strength degradation of the welded joints against the base metal was significantly smaller than that of conventional steel welded joints owing to the suppression of fine grains found in the heat-affected zone heated around AC3 temperature.
The developed 9Cr-3W-3Co-Nd-B steel (SAVE12AD) will be used for large diameter and heavy wall thickness pipes and forgings in 600 °C ultra super critical power plants.